I’m beginning to gather next winter’s firewood. We’ve got nearly perfect weather for it: dry, cold, sunny days and high winds—northerly gales to 40 knots (46+ m.p.h.) nearly every day. Moisture gets sucked out of any chunk of wood I get to the beach currently.
I’m concentrating my current wood cutting effort on the western tip of our land, over in the area we call the “Blow Down.” Years ago, a wind storm knocked down a swath of forest from the end of the peninsula up across our property. It’s a tangle of fallen trees and standing dead now. Many of the trees have rotted, but a lot of them have sound wood in them. Suspended above the wet ground by their branches or other trees, they’ve dried through the years to the point where a short period of seasoning will make them prime firewood.
As a bonus, we’re slowly reclaiming that corner of the property. One day we might have a proper clearing in which to plant an auxiliary garden, or erect a guest cabin or storage shed.
Until then, I’ve got my work cut out for me. After bucking the logs by hand, I have to haul them over the highest part of the trail, then down to the cabin. If I’m lucky, we’ll get some more snow before spring takes hold, and I can transport them by pulk (see The Pulk: Our Homestead’s Winter “Truck”). Otherwise, I’ll need haul all of it the way I do each day lately, a few rounds at a time on my back board.
As I’m coming off a month or two of reduced activity, I’m trying hard to pace myself. I know it’s going to take a while to work back up to “fighting trim,” returning to a higher level of fitness. I don’t want to kill myself making my family’s living.
I’m doing this in the right season, unlike last year. We ended the last heating season with a firewood surplus, and I let that lull me into delaying the cutting and hauling until summer. This year, I’m avoiding that temptation, even as it begins to seem that I might hope (although not expect) to have a similar surplus in the coming months. This is the best time to start the work of gathering enough wood to fill the wood shed, and I need to stick to it until it’s complete.